Early version of Emancipation Proclamation to be exhibited in Harlem
An early version of Abraham Lincoln’s handwritten order that helped free 3 millions – the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation begins an eight-city tour Friday at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem.
The document was written by President Lincoln and released on Sept. 22, 1862. It was published at the height of the Civil War. It was followed by the Emancipation Proclamation on Jan. 1, 1863, which actually freed all the slaves in Union-controlled territory. At the time, there were 3.1 million African descendants in bondage.
The Emancipation Proclamation was destroyed in the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. But the Preliminary, as it’s sometimes called, was bought for $1,000 by New York State legislators after Lincoln was assassinated in 1865.
It’s a one-of-a-kind document written by Lincoln himself and even has his fingerprints from ink smudges on the paper, said Holzer.
Normally on display at The New York State Museum, the document is the centerpiece of a traveling exhibit that will also be making stops in Syracuse, Buffalo and Long Island.